Surprising news today out of West Point has confirmed that next year's Air Force-Army game, scheduled for Nov. 3, will be moved from Yankee Stadium to Michie Stadium.
This news was released this morning by the Army Athletic Association and the New York Yankees.
The game was planned as the third in a series of Army football games the Yankees would host after the conclusion of the baseball season. Last year, Notre Dame played Army on November 20 before a sellout crowd of 54,251 and a national television audience.
The Army-Air Force game is traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday in November, which does not leave much time for preparation after the World Series concludes. The Stadium would require at least several days to convert into a football configuration, which includes putting protective covers over the baseball dugouts, which are located just beyond the would-be corners of the end zone.
The Air Force game at Michie Stadium is always a sellout, and the game would expected to have a strong draw at Yankee Stadium.
"This change to the 2012 schedule will provide our fan base with a tremendous slate of games at Michie Stadium next year," Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said. "With the strong possibility of a conflict with the Yankees' postseason schedule, we felt it was in everyone's best interests to return the game to West Point at this time."
The series of games scheduled for Yankee Stadium planned to take a year off in 2013 before resuming with a game against Boston College on November 8, 2014. BC is a logical opponent for a Yankee Stadium game, as they have many alumni in the area and travel is less than four hours driving from Boston.
Perhaps Syracuse will be scheduled in the future.
The 2012 Army football schedule will now have six games at Michie Stadium, compared to the four home games this season:
|Sept. 8||at San Diego State|
|Sept. 15||NORTHERN ILLINOIS|
|Sept. 22||at Wake Forest|
|Sept. 29||STONY BROOK|
|Oct. 6||at Boston College|
|Oct. 13||KENT STATE|
|Oct. 20||at Eastern Michigan|
|Oct. 27||BALL STATE|
|Nov. 3||AIR FORCE|
|Nov. 10||at Rutgers|
|Dec. 8||vs. Navy (Lincoln Financial Field)|
The Army-Air Force rivalry has been almost as intense as the Black Knights' rivalry with Navy. Since the Air Force Academy was founded after World War II, largely by West Point graduates, the two academies have played 45 times.
Army will travel out to Colorado Springs to play the Falcons this year on Saturday, November 5.
The change in the Army at Yankee Stadium series points out how little flexibility there is in college football schedules.
This announcement comes amidst daily speculation about the future of college football conferences. Both Army and Navy have been speculated as being invited to play in the Big East Conference. Comments from Army seem to suggest that they prefer to stay independent in football and continue in the Patriot League for most other sports.
Their experience as a member of Conference USA from 1998 to 2004 was viewed as not a good fit for the Academy.
Overall, this change will be viewed by many as a bit of a disappointment. Playing Air Force at Michie Stadium is always a game to look forward to, but playing a game at Yankee Stadium is a very special opportunity.
Seeing the football configuration at the "Big Stadium in the South Bronx" reminds us of Army's games against Notre Dame during their national championship years in the 1940's.
Ken Kraetzer produces the West Point Football Report on WVOX 1460 AM from New Rochelle, New York, which is also heard nationally on WVOX.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.